The Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Uttar Pradesh Government have decided to celebrate the 350th year of Taj Mahal. It has only one small problem — the Taj is already 350 years old.
All contemporary accounts prove that Taj is older than the 350 it is officially to turn soon. For instance, Shah JahanÂ$(Bs (Bofficial chronicler Abdul Hamid Lahori writes in the Â$(APa(BdshahnamaÂ$(B t(Bhat the Taj was completed in 12 years at the cost of Rs 50 lakh. The construction began six months after Mumtaz MahalÂ$(Bs (Bdeath in Burhanpur on June 17, 1631, he says. This would mean that Taj was ready by the end of 1643 or early 1644. In other words, the Taj turned 350 in 1994. An inscription at the main gate of the Taj says that the monument was completed in 1648 with the “help of the Almighty.” Adding 350 to that figure yields 1998.
And then there is a letter written by Prince Aurangzeb to his father Shah Jahan deploring the fact that the monument is leaking and something needs to be done. Young Aurangzeb, who was deputed to look after Taj Mahal by his father, wrote the letter in 1652.[New controversy: Is Taj Mahal 350 or older?]
And people who do not know history are accusing others of saffronizing it.